Feb. 18, 2006
NEW BRITAIN, CT (February 18, 2006) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers used a smothering full court press to build an insurmountable 41-15 lead in the first half en route to their 20th win on the season, 65-47 at Central Connecticut State Saturday afternoon. The win gives the Pioneers their third 20 win season in the program's 32 year history.
It was all Sacred Heart for the first twenty minutes of Saturday's Northeast Conference match-up as the Pioneer's patented pressure defense gave Central fits from the opening tip to the halftime horn. Two steals by Amanda Pape (Stamford, CT) in the first minute and half gave SHU a quick 8-0 lead and the turnovers kept coming for CCSU.
Nine Blue Devil miscues through the first 10 minutes proved fatal as the Pioneers sprinted out to a 30-7 lead at the second media timeout. SHU's lead peaked at 32, 39-7, after two more Central turnovers were converted into a lay-up and three from freshman Liz Gruber (Staten Island, NY).
When all was said and done and the halftime horn sounded, SHU had shot 51.5% (17-33) from the field, converted 16 Blue Devil turnovers into 20 points and finished with 11 steals in the half. Central, who had more turnovers (16) than points (15) weren't helped by their seven-of-21 shooting from the field.
The Pioneer offense cooled quite a bit in the second half, being outscored 32-24, but the hole proved too deep for the Blue Devils to dig out of. Despite SHU hitting just 37.0% (10-27), Pape hit five-of-seven on her way to a game-high 23 points.
The junior guard, now the NEC's leading scorer at 18.0 points per game, pulled down eight boards, made five steals, handed out four assists and block a shot to fill out her stat line. Fellow juniors Jasmine Walker (Amityville, NY) and Kerri Burke (Saugus, MA) each finished in double figures with 13 and 10, respectively. Burke added five assists and two steals to her totals while Walker pulled down five boards with a pair of swipes herself.
The Pioneers improve to 20-4 overall with the win and are now 13-2 in the NEC, still in the hunt for the top-seed in the postseason tournament. The win was also SHU's 10th-straight over Central and improves their record to 13-2 over the Blue Devils since joining the conference. Head Coach Ed Swanson picked-up his 250th career victory on Saturday running his career total to 250-191 (.567).
Central Connecticut, 7-19 overall and 4-12 after the loss, got a double double from junior Gabriella Guegbelet who had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Kim Boone tallied 14 points and had four steals in the loss.
Sacred Heart returns home on Monday night to host Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m. in the William H. Pitt Center where the Pioneers are 10-0 this season.